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Trivia / Olympic Games

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  • Channel Hop: The Olympic Games have, in many countries, rarely done so, either because of tradition, long-term contracts with the IOC, or being the only broadcaster in a region with the resources needed to broadcast them.
    • The first televised Olympics in the U.S. hopped between ABC, CBS, and NBC for a while. By the 1990s, CBS had the Winter Olympics, while NBC had the Summer Olympics. Beginning with the 2000 Sydney Games, and to this day, NBC has been the exclusive U.S. broadcaster of every Olympics.
    • CBC lost the 2010 Vancouver Games and 2012 London Games to a consortium backed by CTVglobemedia—later Bell Media—and Rogers Media, only to gain them back in 2014 and reach a sub-licensing deal with the two companies to air coverage on Sportsnet and TSN.
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    • Historically, Seven Network had been the Olympic broadcaster in Australia, but Nine Network and Foxtel nabbed the 2010 and 2012 Games under a deal that was ultimately a financial disaster. So much so, that the IOC had issues selling rights to the 2014 and 2016 Games, and ultimately had to sell just the 2014 Sochi Games to Network Ten. Seven has since re-gained them through 2020.
  • Cowboy BeBop at His Computer: A Polish newspaper stuck Pedobear in with the rest of the Vancouver mascots. It was apparently an internet meme, and the newspaper nabbed a Photoshopped image without knowing better.
  • Friday Night Death Slot: NBC's multiple networks have allowed them to broadcast every event, but sports that aren't typically a ratings draw are relegated to the cable networks or times like late night/mid-afternoon.
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  • Promoted Fanboy: A huge chunk of Olympians grew up watching the events on television and being inspired to join the sport to emulate a particular athlete, only to find themselves participating in the Olympics themself—Kristi Yamaguchi signed up for skating lessons after watching Dorothy Hamill's gold-medal winning performance in 1976, only to win her own gold medal 16 years later at the Albertville Games (and receiving a "good luck" hug from Hamill herself).
  • Troubled Production: Every now and then there are installments with either: overspending, in both the Summer and Winter Games of 1976; boycotts, in all Summer Games between 1976 and 1988 inclusive; construction behind schedule, in the Summer Games of 1976, 2004, and 2016; terrorism, in the Summer Games of 1972 and 1996; faulty infrastructure, in the Summer Games of 1996 and in the Winter Olympics in 2014...
    • Overspending in particular is becoming such an issue that it's starting to affect the bidding process: hardly anyone wants to host the games anymore, citing the costs. It's gotten so bad that in the bidding for the 2024 games it was decided that the loser (for there were only two bidders) would get 2028...because the IOC were afraid no one would bid for 2028.
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    • With the coronavirus epidemic of 2020 in full swing, people have questioned whether the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo should even go on. As of 2 March 2020 it was still planned to go on, but mounting pressure from various countries finally forced the IOC to postpone them until 2021.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Steven Spielberg dropped out of the creative team for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Games in protest of China's inaction in the Darfur Civil War. What the ceremony would have looked like in Spielberg's hands is anyone's guess.
    • For the 2012 London Games, various parts of Danny Boyle's opening ceremony were left out due to time restraints from public transportation: stunt bikes were to be involved and a Doctor Who segment—or at least, music—was cut.
    • Thanks to the First and Second World Wars, the 1916 Berlin Summer Games, as well as the 1940 and 1944 Summer and Winter games were cancelled. Had it not been for those wars, the games for those years would certainly have occurred.
      • Incidentally, the 1916 games were intended to have a Winter Sports Week, a concept which gave rise to the Winter Olympics. Suppose that the war had ended before the games, or the war had never broken out in the first place - would we still have gotten the Winter Olympics eventually? Or would they have regulated winter sports to a week at the Summer Olympics in the future?
    • Over the century-plus history of the modern Olympics, there have been innumerable athletes who could have won Olympic medals but ultimately didn't even get to contend for them. This includes athletes who were injured, athletes who chose not to try for the Olympics for other reasons, athletes who failed to make their countries' teams, and athletes who made it to the Games but failed to qualify to a medal round in their particular event (especially when this was due to a fluke bad performance in a qualification).
    • Many gymnastics fans have speculated about what the results of the 2000 Women's All-Around final would have been if not for the fact that the vaulting horse was accidentally set at an incorrect height, causing several gymnasts to fall before the error was discovered. While the gymnasts who had vaulted with the bad setting were offered a do-over on vault, the mental impact of falling at such a critical moment likely affected at least some of their performances on subsequent events, which they were not permitted to repeat. Particular attention has focused on Russian gymnast Svetlana Khorkina, who came into the final with the highest qualification score, but missed out on a medal due to falling off the uneven bars, which happened after she fell on vault due to the equipment problem; while it's not entirely clear that the later error was a result of the vault difficulty (she had fallen on the same element in the team final), it's certainly not implausible that the earlier fall (which Khorkina believed was the result of an error on her part) played a role.
    • Also in gymnastics, rules about how many athletes from each country can compete in a given event final note  have meant that several gymnasts who could have challenged for medals have been kept out of the finals despite getting qualification-worthy scores in the preliminary rounds. In two especially memorable cases, Jordyn Wieber and Gabby Douglas missed out on the all-around finals in 2012 and 2016 respectively despite being serious medal contenders (Douglas in particular qualified in medal position; Wieber was in fourth, but not by nearly a large enough margin to suggest she couldn't have placed higher in the final). If qualification to finals was solely based on score, there have been a number of finals over the years that might have looked different.


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